The Offering EP
Unique, incredible…the future sound of metal
By the might of Mjollnir! I am normally a fan of extreme metal and rarely cross into any other genres but every now and then I'll dabble in power/traditional every so often to see what's out there. What I got after listening to "The Offering" was a gaping crater in the back of my head from where this album exited after eviscerating my entrails and bulldozing its way through my brain. See, told you I liked extreme stuff mostly. Anyhow, let me get back on track before we fall into a cesspool of nastiness.
The Offering has totally blown me away with the quality of work that is showcased within their self titled EP. Opener "Rat King" has this very melodic, grooving intro that is accented by vocalist Alex Richichi's wail vaulting over the musical walls. As the song moves forward, it reminds me a lot of Sanctuary's "Battle Angels" with Richichi's vocal performance sounding like Warrel Dane. But then all of a sudden the gears shift and it feels like Carcass just walked in and kicked the walls down. The vocals change to this venomous, menacing growl and the guitars and drums pick up some serious speed. The riff that hits at the 3:25 mark is just fist-pumping and brutal as hell. The clean vocals resume and the song wraps up with no further surprises.
And just when you think you've got a breather, "Tales of Hell" comes in with all barrels blazing, delivering another stellar track. This one stays more on the power metal side but not before the band throws in a very Carcass sounding riff at the two minute mark before guitarists Nishad George and Daniel Martinez Del Campo come in and shred it up with some seriously wicked guitar work. Up next is "The Well", which at the moment happens to be my favorite track on the album. Another monster scream from Richichi kicks this one off in fine manner and dives right in with no musical interlude. The music on this one is top notch as usual but what really grabbed my attention on this song were the lyrics and the way they are played out. You get clean, death, and gang chants throughout the song and the chorus is one of the catchiest ones I've heard in years! After my first listen, I was walking around singing the chorus from this one for days on end. The chorus is "Your soul's been weighed and been measured/Stripped of its gold and its worth/You've been a sinner, Maria/Down the well to hell you go" and it will bury its way inside your brain. The breakdown on this track is just killer and perfectly placed, giving you this massive groove with some death growls before some more insanely intricate guitar work from George and Del Campo come in to set you up as the band gets ready to thrust you right back in to the maelstrom. The vocal change at the 4:20 mark where Richichi goes totally clean with some really nice tandem guitar and bass just completely caught me off guard and then the build to the scream as it returns to its normal pace is just phenomenal.
"Witch Pit" keeps the ball rolling with yet another mind-melter of a song that has so many pieces to it that I could write an entire page about all the different things going on that are just insane. Musically, this is the most insane track off the record. It comes out of the gate like a bullet fired from a gun and seems to pick up speed as it moves forward. At the 2:30 mark the song decidedly switches to a more death/almost grind feel to it with these nasty, technical guitar passages that would make Messrs. Amott applaud. Then the guitar solos come in and sweet mother of darkness they are amazing! The title track, "The Offering", and "The Well" have jockeyed for position as my favorite track from the album since I first played this through. The intro on the final track is a bit more subtle with some dreamscape like vocals starting things off before they get obliterated by the growl of Richichi and the drumming of Finn. Richichi does a great job on this track of flipping from the death growls to the cleans in the blink of an eye. The music on this one again just really pushes you to the limit of what you think the band is gonna throw at you next. There is a little Cannibal Corpse, some Dying Fetus and then some Nocturnal Rites that you can hear throughout this track. Near the end of the song Richichi flips back and forth between his power and death vocals and it is just incredible to hear him move back and forth so easily and effortlessly.
Whew, let me get my breath after all that wordiness. Albums like this are my favorite kind where you go in blind and you come out blown away and impressed by what you heard. Those words don't do this release justice for me. I'm sure that people will tell me they sound like this band or that band. Hell, I mentioned other bands in my review but that was more to give people an idea of what to expect. The Offering is clearly influenced by many bands and genres of our wonderful heavy metal world and the sound they've created is unique, incredible and what I think will be the future sound of metal. You could do well to take notes on what The Offering has done on this release. My only complaint, which isn't a complaint really, is that there were only five songs to listen to! So whether you like a particular genre of metal or just like all that metal has to offer, go out, pick up this album, crank it and then "Down the well to Hell you go!"